Review by numberonecubsfan 2

Reviewed: 09/18/03

A Final Fantasy that is only outdone by Final Fantasy 6

I'm what you would call an old school gamer. Realistic, 3D, cell-shaded graphics don't impress me to terribly much. Well, they do impress me if they are really good, but I'm not going to play a game simply because I hear that it has amazingly realistic graphics. I grew up in the days 8-bit and 16-bit. Graphics were going to be very bad most of the time, and this was accepted by the mass gaming community. So rather then focus on making the pixilated sprites look good, they turned their attention to making fun and challenging games.

It was because of this focus that the late 80's-mid 90's produced some wonderful and thoroughly enjoyable games. The genre that really shined in this era was Role Playing Games, or RPG's. Several of them are still around and going strong, like Dragon Warrior, Phantasy Star and, of course, Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy has produced the most games and best sellers of the three.

I'll be honest; I haven't played very many of the new ones, or very often. When I have played them, however, I got the distinct impression that this wasn't quite the same as the previous Final Fantasy's I have grown to love. While they may look great, in most cases the wonderful and long game play seems to have taken a back seat to graphics and annoying FMV's, with voice acting and everything. This just makes me appreciate games like Final Fantasy 5 even more.

Story: 9/10
One thing about the original 6 Final Fantasy games is that the plots seem similar in one respect (big evil person wants ultimate power, a group of heroes come together and stop him, partying ensues). While that is certainly true, look at other RPG's or adventure games. 95% have this ''kill the bad guy/save the princess'' aspect. That being said, it doesn't diminish the story of Final Fantasy 5.

You start off as [insert name here](at this point I'll call him what I named my hero, Mike) riding around on a beloved Chocobo. There is a meteor crash near by, so Mike goes to check it out. He finds a hot blonde being attacked by monsters, so of course he goes to save her. Also near the site they find an old man who seems to have amnesia. Leena and Gaulf decide they are going to the Wind Crystal, and Mike, who is more interested in Leena then a crystal, follows along. At this point the plot gets very large and complicated, involving 3 other crystals, pirates, airships, submarines, seals, ancient evil wizards, other planets, and different dimensions. I don't know what it is with Final Fantasy games and other dimensions, but there always seems to be one. The plot never gets boring and should keep your interest.

Controls: 10/10
There isn't much to say here. Being an RPG with menu-based battles, the controls are incredibly simple and easy to get the hang of.

Sound: 8/10
Why does this section get an 8 and not a 10 you ask? Well I'll tell you. As is usual for Final Fantasy games, you get an airship. When you first get the airship, the only noise you hear is the nice music. At one point you lose the airship for a while. For some strange reason, which is completely lost on me, they add a sound effect when you get the airship back the second time. This is the sound of about 15 propellers spinning at once. This might not sound like a big deal. But the noise is so loud it drowns out the music, and so annoying considering the amount of time you spend in the ship. I had to mute it every time I was in the ship.

Beyond that one terrible noise, the sound effects are just great. The attacking, basic spell, and menu noises are all pretty basic. Some of the spell and summon sound effects just flow wonderfully with what your eyes are seeing on the screen.

Music: 9/10
One thing that stays consistent in all Final Fantasy games is fantastic music. Some of the music stays the same from game to game, like the battle victory tune, the Moogle theme, the Chocobo theme, and the airship theme. Aside from these, the music is always different, although keeping a similar style.

The world music is great. It is that kind of somber Final Fantasy music you've come to expect if you've played. The submarine music sets the mood of being under water perfectly. The town music is very fitting in most cases except for one. A couple of towns had this fast, high-pitched violin type music that drove me crazy. Exdeath's music is one of the best boss songs I've ever heard.

Graphics: 10/10
I had sort of a rant at the beginning of this review about how RPG's of the 16-bit era typically used graphics that were far from amazing. This is true in most parts of the game, as the sprites look really pixilated and the worldview is nothing new. Since the enemies don't move in the battle, the game artists were able to focus on making the enemies as detailed as possible. They especially went all out on the final battles with Exdeath. Speaking of which, there is an effect with the used at this point that makes the background and the sprites wave up and down with trippy colors in the background.

There is one part here I feel I must give special attention. At 3 different points in the game, there are FMV's played. Being 16-bit, they don't compare to some from today, but they are still incredible nonetheless. The pure amount of detail and color used is just something you have to see for yourself. The mountains, the trees, the oceans, hell even the character riding on the back of Chocobo's and a dragon look wonderful.

Fun/Fun Factor: 10/10
Here's the part I really love. A great aspect of RPG's is the ability to gain levels and buy stronger weapons. There is plenty of that here, as some of the later enemies are incredibly strong. Spells are also a staple of most RPG's, and there is no lack of them. Not only can you learn white, black, and summon spells, you can also learn spells used by your enemies. Obviously, magic becomes very important in fights.

There is one aspect of the game that is entirely unique in the RPG world: the job system. As the game goes on, you are given the option of giving your character jobs. You can make a character a white mage, black mage, blue mage, monk, ninja, thief, dancer(yes, and dancer), bard, and many more. As they gain ability points, they learn different abilities. You can mix and match learned abilities as well, like having a black mage know white magic, and a ninja who knows how to summon monsters. If you play your cards right, no one character will be weak.

Much of your time will be spent fighting and leveling up. Sometimes this can get a tad boring, seeing as how much stronger you are then your enemies. But when you get to the next area and get your ass kicked by a cave monster, you'll see the importance of it.

Conclusion
As you can probably tell, I loved this game. It's recommended to anyone who loves a good RPG, and a nice long one. There is at least 60 hours of game play packed into this baby. If you want to play a great RPG, download the translated SNES rom, or pick up the Playstation port you won't be disappointed.

Overall: 10/10

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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